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A Pharisee By Any Other Name...

Unmasking Christian Hypocrisy in Greenville, South Carolina

http://educate-yourself.org/cn/phariseesgreenville12may06.shtml
May 12, 2006

Subject: Corruption in Christian Churches: Greenville, SC
From: Helen
Date: Fri, May 12, 2006
To: Editor <E-mail>

Dear Ken,

Hello!

I live in Greenville, SC. I first want to say that I have immensely enjoyed reading articles and views on your website. I have long believed many of these things are true, and it is refreshing to know that someone else has studied and researched things that go "against the establishment", and against the propaganda. I commend you and hope you do further work to spread truth and knowledge to people who want to learn.

First let me say that I am a Christian, I love Jesus and believe in everything he stands for. I do not however believe in the "religion" and "rules" that surround Christianity, and especially in this day and age, the up and coming evangelical pastors. These religious leaders proclaim to be working for God, however if you can take a step back and look at it for what it is, they promote greed and power all in the name of God, and Jesus. Jesus never stood for greed. He never drove BMW's, and wore Gucci shoes. You are absolutely right, they manipulate their congregations into doing many things based on their "interpretation" of biblical passages, all to promote their establisment for their own gain, not God's.

I am especially interested in your articles about religion and Christianity in general. I have noticed many things recently that have raised alot of questions for me. I have been attending a church here in Greenville. This church started out with only 3 members and has grown to over 5,000 members in 14 years. The pastor(called Apostle), and his wife seem to be nice people, however they have bodyguards all the time, (because they supposedly have had death threats, and there have been attempted kidnappings of their children) and are definitely rich in wealth, (from the church I'm assuming), and they have no problem displaying their wealth for everyone to see. They recently bought a $1 million dollar home, they were supposedly "given" two new BMW's, and also they were "given" a jet.

The pastor will always defend himself, and his disgusting display of wealth by saying, "God has blessed me, and I won't apologize for it...If God wanted to bless you, he would have given it to you...This is my blessing...Go out and get your own blessing...God blesses us on the level we are at...Why is it that a preacher drives down the road in a nice car and the world condemns him, and says he must be corrup...I may be a preacher, but God wants me to be rich..." And so on. He preaches and teaches the wealth, prosperity doctrine. He talks about POWER, and THE WEALTH OF THE WICKED IS LAID UP FOR THE RIGHTEOUS...and any time wealth is talked about, of course it is money. (Even though wealth in the Bible could mean a lot more than money!) It is all a bunch of bull.

Most of the people who go to our church are lower middle class, so of course they buy into this. He tells everyone to sow a seed (money) for where you want to go. One sermon he even told us that," Until everyone in this congregation gives a tithe, no one will get their blessing..." he had everone chant and look at eachother and say,.."Quit blocking my blessing!"... Every year there is a "Resurrection Seed" offering, and this year, he has prayed for the congregation to give $4 million (because he just built a $4 million addition to our building, and he doesnt want the church to borrow from the worldly banks). Now, mind you, 60% of our congregation is single working mothers, who are probably living paycheck to paycheck. He has even gone so far as to tell us that if we keep the tithe, and don't give it to God, that we will be cursed. He manipulates everyone for the offering every chance he gets. It gets worse when they need more money I guess. It is horrendous. I find it very uncomfortable, and I have seen firsthand how it affects members of my church. (My husband, before I met him, couldnt pay his bills, because he was giving the tithe, plus an offering, like the apostle said to do. He was giving 20% of his income to the church every week. In hopes of God giving him what he wanted. Many people in that church work a 2nd job just to give the money to the church.)

The apostle is basically teaching that if you give enough money, God will give you what you want. That is like saying that we can manipulate God. How wrong is that? But then he will say, "Don't be mad if you give tithe for a week, or a year, or 10 years, and don't get what you want...that just means that it isn't your time yet...God will give it to you in His time." Um, yeah...exactly. No matter what you give, you cannot make God do anything. The apostle even changed the "Resurrection Seed" offering day this year to May 14th, so Jesse Duplantis could come speak to us on that day. ( No doubt in hopes of getting a bigger offering.)

Our church was built by Roe Messner, Tammy Faye Messner's husband. Our church's service was first aired on TNB a few months ago. That is a whole other can of worms. TBN is so corrupt, I cannot even imagine. I have been going to this church for 2 years. Over the course of 2 years, I have begun to see and hear lots of things that bother me, (that are warning signs, probably from the Holy Sprit. He does use the Holy Spirit to alert you to things that are not right).

The apostle and his wife do not socialize much with anyone in the church, and of the things I have heard socially about them, much of it is not good. There is so much corruption going on, and it seems that most of the people are totally blinded by it. There are people who faithfully give to our church, yet if they are in need, there is seldom, if ever any money to give them from the benevolence office. The pastor has a "free" jet to use, and you know how expensive it is to fly a jet somewhere? He has to pay a pilot, and pay for jet fuel. This is probably 3-4 times more expensive than just taking a regular commercial airline to his destination. Who pays for it? The church tithers do. This is but one in many, many contradictions.

The apostle has many things he preaches about, but when I sit back and listen to it, he contradicts himself all the time. Another thing that bothers me is that everyone that serves at this church (well almost everyone), puts the apostle up on a pedestal. He is like some untouchable person. He is treated like royalty, and you had better not talk bad about him. One time he said,

"The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom, that means He rules, and it is not a democracy. Just like this church, I am put in charge of the church, and God has put me here to decide what to do, I make the decisions."

It is just so much hypocrisy. I cannot believe it sometimes. And this is just but one church in America like this. There are so many things that go on in this church that any outsider would question, and regard as fake, however most of the church members are duped into believing that it is all true, and apostle and his wife are these great leaders. I can take one look at them and tell they are hiding something.

It is just sad that Christians can be so duped and brainwashed so easily. Basically, when I think about it, our church is not a good one. We have good people who go there, and try to do good things, but they are misled, and have been manipulated. The leaders may love God, but they have been tainted by money and greed, and it obviously runs their lives, and has infiltrated our church also. Some of the personal things I have heard about the apostles are disturbing. One thing is that they have said they don't want their daughter dating a black guy. Well, over half our members at church are black. What does that say about them?

My question is, how can this be exposed? How can I help? If you try and go to many people in my church to talk about things like this, they will say, "The Deviil has corrupted your mind, let me pray for you"...or...""Satan has brought this knowledge to you to confuse you and try and make you turn on God"...which is all a natural, preprogrammed response. I would expect it. But thats the thing, I am not turning on God, I am finding things to alert me to the TRUTH. Just because it is a church, doesn't mean it is true.

How can people be so stupid to believe EVERYTHING these leaders teach? What can we do to stop this, or change this?

I am disappointed, and angered by all the lies, and greed, and deceit in our world, government, and churches. How can I make a difference?

Signed,

Helen
Greenville, SC

p.s. Here is the church's website that I am referring to www.rwoc.org .

***

Hi Helen,

Good letter. It's reassuring to hear from a church goer who can still think for herself and recognize a wolf when she sees one. A Call to Account is long over due in fundamentalist Christian churches. The way to expose such corrupting hypocrisy is to confront it directly. You can't do that in the "apostle's" lair, of course, but you can find a home or a meeting place where like minded people can get together and decide on a course to expose this corruption and manipulation of blinded Christians. You want to avoid the common trap of being judgmental of the person, but rather express your determined disapproval of the conduct.

You lead by example. Start your own church! If you can you find two or three people to join you, set about making things right by showing the way. You preach your own sermons and recall the TRUE intent and meaning of the words of Christ to HELP those in need and comfort those who are poor in spirit. Tithing (within your means) is a good thing, but not to enrich some Elmer Gantry con artist masquerading as a spokesman for God.

Of course not; you want to use you tithing funds to help people who really NEED it. Identify those who have the greatest need and let them know you would like to assist them in any way possible. Even words of support can produce powerful effects. You always want to ask yourself "what would Christ do in this situation?"  His wisdom will come to you if you ask sincerely.

Write down your concerns (much as Martin Luther did some centuries ago) and put together a newsletter and pass it out around town. If you point out the hypocrisy seen in Christian fundamentalist churches -without naming names or specific churches- you will attract those who resonate with your words and you will find yourself growing faster than you might expect. People respond to truth when it is expressed! The fundamentalist corruption you talk about in this letter is glaring and that balloon needs to be popped. There is no one more qualified to do the job than a member of that community.

Christ's mission was one of understanding, compassion, wisdom, and brotherly love. Christ said that there was a greater chance of a camel passing through the eye of a needle than a RICH man entering the Kingdom of God. He wasn't condemning the rich as much as pointing out that those who worship at the altar of materialism are not sufficiently advanced in soul development to realize that spiritual gain comes about through acts of the heart, not from the accumulation of wealth or power.

I gave you quite a challenge here.

Think you're up to it? Let me know.

God Bless, Ken

*****

Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2006
From: Helen
To: Editor <E-mail>
Subject: RE: Corruption in Christian Churches: Greenville, SC

Ken,

I just thought I would give you an update to the situation with the church I wrote you about a few weeks ago. This past week, a local newspaper started an investigation of the church leaders. (Kind of ironic, no?) Supposedly the informant for the story is one of the active members of the church (who has access to inside information). They gave the newpaper some documents that give information about some possible corruption going on. The apostle talked about it Sunday to the congregation, and said that the world just hates it when a preacher isn't poor. It is so funny to hear the spin that comes from that pulpit. The world doesn’t care if a preacher has money, as long as he got it by honest means. When you hide your income and what you spend the church member's tithe on, and tell the members that you don’t have to answer to them, then there is something to be suspicious of. Anyway, maybe something will be unearthed that will shed some light on things for the congregation. I overheard some church members talking about it and they were concerned that if something bad was printed that it would destroy the church members. If their faith is so tied to that church that bad press would shake them up so much spiritually, then they need to realize what real faith is. It is not in a person or pastor, or even a church, but only in God. It is just very interesting to see how this plays out. If you want, I will keep you updated.

Blessings,

Helen

 

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